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The magistrate said while passing sentence: “Both of you exhibited immaturity and you were oblivious of the dangers of engaging in sexual intercourse.”Lawyer Alex Magaisa says while the age of consent under the constitution is 16, in practice it is in fact 12 – with the courts playing a major role in lowering the bar.

There’s that comparison that losing a cow is worse than having a woman raped.”Campaigners say families of victims have lost faith in the law, to the extent of making private arrangements with those who rape their children.

In April, Plumtree magistrate Livard Philemon sentenced a 19-year-old man who impregnated his employer’s Grade 7 daughter, 13, to 315 hours of community service.

In 2013, when a magistrate sentenced a man who had sex with a 14-year-old girl to an effective 12 months in jail, a judge rebuked her on appeal, saying it was “an extremely harsh sentence that she imposed without any plausible justification as it would have the effect of further prejudicing the accused person.”Now campaigners want law reforms currently underway to align legislation with the new constitution to reaffirm 16 as the age of consent and give judges more powers to issue deterrent sentences.“It’s terrible,” MDC lawmaker Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga [Umzingwane] said yesterday as she surveyed the current sentencing guidelines on sexual offences against children.

She added: “Look at stocktheft, it has a mandatory sentence for each cow or beast stolen, but for a young girl or woman who has had her future violated through rape, there’s no such thing. It simply shows that cattle are more valorised than our children.

Marriage, or rather dating, in Zimbabwe, used to be an ‘institution or an arrangement’ which involved a lot of rules and cultural or moral expectations that two people in a relationship were suppose to follow. In recent years with the advent of new technological gadgets like smartphones and laptops, there is a new dating trend which is fast developing in the country: internet dating.

As of 2014, out of the 14-million people in Zimbabwe, about 5.2 million now have internet access, a development which is seeing internet dating grow.Sites like Metrodate, Topface, Dating Buzz and Evening Touch, to mention just a few are helping boys, girls, men and women find dates.But, why are most people in the country now very active on these dating sites?But there have been some unanswered questions as to how those who test positive should continue their lives."It's almost like an us and them, there's an assumption that you're negative, so go and get tested so that you can keep yourself safe from those positive people," said Shaba."I challenged the last date that I had who left me when I disclosed my status.